Louis Scott

Department of Plant Sciences
University of the Free State
PO Box 339
(w): +27 (0) 51 401 9111


Research Themes


Research Interests

I am interested Quaternary fossil pollen record, of south Africa and its palaeoenvirontal and palaeoclimatic implications. The results of fossil pollen analysis from different biomes in Southern Africa can be applied to reconstruct past vegetation patters, which in turn were influenced by climatic fluctuations. It is essential to obtain a closer grid of palaeo-environmental sites over the whole southern Africa to trace regional patterns of long-term climate change during the Quaternary and Neogene, and to understand our environmental system’s reaction to forces of global change. This will potentially provide us with a better insight of how prehistoric inhabitants had to cope under long-term environmental changes and what can be expected in terms of future climate changes.     

Selected Publications

  • Neumann F.H., Botha, G.A. and Scott, L. 2014. 18,000 years of grassland evolution in the summer rainfall region of South Africa – evidence from Mahwaqa Mountain, KwaZulu-Natal. Vegetation history and Archaeobotany (in press).
  • Chase, B.M., Scott, L., Meadows, M.E., Gil-Romera, G., Boom, A., Carr A.S., Reimer, P.J., Britton, M.N., Quick, L.J. 2012. Rock hyrax middens: a novel palaeoenvironmental archive in southern African drylands. Quaternary Science Reviews 56 : 107-125.
  • Scott, L., Neumann, F.H., Brook, G.A., Bousman, C.B., Norström, E., Metwally, A. 2012. Terrestrial fossil-pollen evidence of climate change during the last 26 thousand years in Southern Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 32: 100-118.
  • Neumann, F., Scott, L., and Bamford, M. (2011) Climate change and human disturbance of fynbos vegetation during the late Holocene at Princess Vlei, Western Cape, South Africa. The Holocene 21(7): 1137 – 1150.
  • Rossouw, L. and Scott, L. 2011. Phytoliths and pollen, the microscopic plant remains in Pliocene volcanic sediments around Laetoli, Tanzania.  In: T. Harrison (ed.), Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli, Tanzania: Human Evolution in Context. Volume 1: Geology, Geochronology, Paleoecology and Paleoenvironment, Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. Springer Science+Business Media. Pp 201-215. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-9956-3_9.
  • Brook, G.A., Scott, L. Railsback, B Goddard, E. A. 2010. A 35 ka pollen and isotope record of environmental change along the southern margin of the Kalahari from a stalagmite in Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 74(5): 870-884.
  • Norström E., Scott, L., Partridge, T.C., Risberg, J. and Holmgren, K. 2009 Reconstruction of environmental and climate changes at Braamhoek wetland, eastern escarpment South Africa, during the last 16000 years with emphasis on the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 271: 240–258. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.10.018
  • Scott, L., Holmgren, K., and Partridge, T.C. 2008. Reconciliation of vegetation and climatic interpretations of pollen profiles and other regional records from the last 60 thousand years  in the Savanna Biome of Southern Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 257: 198-206. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.10.018
  • Scott, L. and Woodborne, S. 2007. Vegetation history inferred from pollen in Late Quaternary faecal deposits (hyraceum) in the Cape winter-rain region and its bearing on past climates in South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 26: 941–953. Doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.12.012.
  • Scott, L. and Woodborne, S. 2007. Pollen analysis and dating of Late Quaternary faecal deposits (hyraceum) in the Cederberg, Western Cape, South Africa. Review Palaeobotany and Palynology 144(3-4): 123-134. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2006.07.004.
  • Scott, L., Cadman A., and McMillan, I., 2006. Early history of Cainozoic Asteraceae along the Southern African west coast. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 142: 47-52.
  • Scott, L., Bousman, C.B., Nyakale, M. 2005. Holocene pollen from swamp, cave and hyrax dung deposits at Blydefontein (Kikvorsberge), Karoo, South Africa. Quaternary International 129: 49-59.
  • Scott, L,. Marais, E. and Brook, G.A. 2004. Fossil hyrax dung and evidence of Late Pleistocene and Holocene vegetation types in the Namib Desert. Journal of Quaternary Science 19 (8): 829 - 832.
  • Scott L. and Lee-Thorp J.A. 2004. Holocene climatic trends and rhythms in Southern Africa. In: Battarbee R.W., Gasse F., and Stickley C.E. (eds), Past Climate Variability through Europe and Africa. Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, pp. 69-91. 
  • Scott, L., Holmgren, K., Talma, A.S., Woodborne, S., and Vogel, J.C. 2003. Age interpretation of the Wonderkrater spring sediments and vegetation change in the savanna biome, Limpopo Province, South Africa. S.A.J. Sci.: 99, 484-488.
  • Scott, L. and Nyakale, M. 2002. Pollen indications of Holocene palaeoenvironments at Florisbad in the central Free State. South Africa. The Holocene 12(4): 497-503.
  • Scott, L. 2002. Grassland development under glacial and interglacial conditions in Southern Africa: review of pollen, phytolith and isotope evidence. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 177(1-2): 47-57.
  • Scott, L. 2002. Microscopic charcoal in sediments and Late Quaternary fire history of the grassland and savanna regions in Africa.  Journal of Quaternary Science17(1): 77-86.
  • Scott, L. and Vogel. J.C. 2000. Evidence for environmental conditions during the last 20 000 years in Southern Africa from 13C in fossil hyrax dung. Global and Planetary Change 26(1-3): 207-215.
  •  Scott, L. 1999a. Palynological analysis of the Pretoria Saltpan (Tswaing Crater) sediments and vegetation history in the bushveld savanna biome, South Africa. In: TC Partridge (ed.) Tswaing - Investigations into the origin, age and palaeoenvironments of the Pretoria Saltpan, Council for Geosciences, Pretoria, 143-166.
  • Scott, L. 1999b.The vegetation history and climate in the Savanna Biome, South Africa, since 190 000 KA: A comparison of pollen data from the Tswaing Crater (the Pretoria Saltpan) and Wonderkrater. Quaternary International 57-58: 215-223.
  • Scott, L., Anderson, H.M. and Anderson, J.M. 1997.  Vegetation History.  In R.M. Cowling and D. M. Richardson and SM. Pierce, eds. The vegetation of Southern Africa.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 62-84.
  • Scott, L. and Steenkamp, M. 1996.  Environmental history and recent human disturbance at coastal Lake Teza, Kwazulu/Natal.  South African Journal of Science: 92: 348-350.
  • Scott, L. 1996. Palynology of hyrax middens: 2000 years of palaeo-environmental history in Namibia.  Quaternary International 33: 73-79.
  • Scott, L., Steenkamp, M., and Beaumont, P.B. 1995.  Palaeoenvironmental conditions in South Africa at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition.  Quaternary Science Reviews (Global Younger Dryas Issue) 14 (9): 937-947.
  • Scott, L. 1995.  Pollen evidence for vegetational and climate change during the Neogene and Quaternary in Southern Africa.  In Paleoclimate and Evolution with Emphasis on Human Origins. ed. E. Vrba , G. Denton, T.C. Partridge, & L.H. Burckle, pp. 65-76. Yale: Yale University Press.
  • Scott, L. 1994. Palynology of late Pleistocene hyrax middens, south-western Cape Province, South Africa: a preliminary report.  Historical Biology, 9: 71-81.
  • Partridge, T.C., Kerr, S. J., Metcalfe S.E., Scott L., Talma A.S. and Vogel J.C.. 1993. The Pretoria Saltpan: a 200 000 year southern African lacustrine sequence. Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimatol., Palaeoecol. 101: 317-337.
  • Scott, L. 1993 Palynological evidence for late Quaternary warming episodes in Southern Africa. Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimatol., Palaeoecol. 101: 229-235.
  • Scott, L. and Brink, J.S. 1992.  Quaternary palaeoenvironments of pans in central South Africa: palynological and palaeontological evidence.  S. A. Geographer: 19: 22-34.
  • Scott, L. and Vogel J. C. 1992  Short-term changes of climate and vegetation revealed by pollen analysis of hyrax dung in South Africa.  Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 74: 283-291.
  • Scott, L., Cooremans, B., and Maud R. R. 1992  Preliminary palynological evaluation of the Port Durnford Formation at Port Durnford, Natal coast, South Africa.  S. Afr J. of Sci.: 88: 470-474.
  • Scott, L.  1992  Environmental implications and origin of microscopic Pseudoschizaea Thiergart and Frantz ex R. Potonié emend. in sediments.  Journal of Biogeography: 19: 349-354.
  • Scott, L. 1990.  Hyrax (Procaviidae) and dassie rat (Petromuridae) middens in paleoenvironmental studies in Africa.  In: J. Betancourt, T.R. van Devender and P.S. Martin (eds.), Packrat middens: the last 40 000 years of biotic change.  Univ. Arizona Press. Tucson 398-407.
  • Scott, L. 1989.  Late Quaternary vegetation history and climatic change in the eastern O.F.S, South Africa.  South African Journal of Botany 55(1): 107-116.
  • Scott, L. 1989.  Climatic conditions in Southern Africa since the Last Glacial Maximum, inferred from pollen analysis.  Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol 70: 345-353.
  • Scott, L. 1987b.  Late Quaternary forest history in Venda, Southern Africa.  Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 53: 1-10.
  • Scott, L. 1987a.  Pollen analysis of hyena coprolites and sediments from Equus Cave, Taung, Southern Kalahari (S. Africa).  Quaternary Research 28: 144-156.
  • Scott, L. and Thackeray, J.F. 1987.  Multivariate analysis of Late Pleistocene and Holocene pollen spectra from Wonderkrater, Transvaal, S. Africa.  S.A. Journal of Science 83(2): 93-98.
  • Scott, L. and Bonnefille, R. 1986.  A search for pollen from the hominid deposits of Kromdraai, Sterkfontein and Swartkrans: some problems and preliminary results.  South African Journal of Science 82: 380-382.
  • Scott, L. 1985.  Palynological indications of the Quaternary vegetation history of Marion Island (sub-Antarctic).  Journal of Biogeography 12: 413-431.
  • Scott, L. and van Zinderen Bakker, E.M. 1985.  Exotic pollen and long-distance wind dispersal at a sub-Antarctic island.  Grana 24: 45-54.
  • Scott, L. 1984a.  Palynological evidence for Quaternary paleoenvironments in southern Africa.  In: R.G. Klein (ed.) Southern African Paleoenvironments and Pre-history.  Balkema, Rotterdam: 65-80.
  • Scott, L. and Vogel, J.C. 1983.  Late Quaternary pollen profile from the Transvaal highveld, South Africa.  South African Journal of Science 79: 266-272.
  • Scott, L. and Hall, K.J. 1983.  Palynological evidence for interglacial vegetation cover on Marion Island, sub-Antarctic.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 41: 35-43.
  • Scott, L. 1982d.  A Late Quaternary pollen record from the Transvaal bushveld, South Africa.  Quaternary Research 17: 339-370.
  • Scott, L. 1982c.  Late Quaternary fossil pollen grains from the Transvaal, South Africa.  Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 36: 241-278.
  • Scott, L. 1976.  Palynology of Lower Cretaceous deposits from the Algoa Basin (Republic of South Africa).  Pollen et Spores XVIII(4): 563-609.
  • Scott, L. 1976.  Preliminary palynological results from the Alexandersfontein Basin near Kimberley.  Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 71: 193-199.